Italian Word of the Day: Torcicollo (crick in the neck)

In Italy, you’ll often hear people use the single word torcicollo to describe a crick in one’s neck or a stiff neck caused by an injury.

It is made up of two words: the verb torcere meaning to twist or to contort, and collo meaning neck.

cover image with the word “torcicollo” and its translation written on a notepad next to a cup of coffee

Torcicollo is a masculine noun. The plural is torcicolli.

un torcicollo
il torcicollo

dei torcicolli
i torcicolli

If you want to say that you have a stiff neck, you can use the verbs avere (to have) and venire (to come).

Ho il torcicollo da tre giorni.

I’ve had a crick in my neck for three days.

Mi è venuto il torcicollo tre giorni fa.

I got a crick in my neck three days ago.

Young man suffering from pain in his neck after long day of work
Mi sono svegliato con un torcicollo insopportabile! – I woke up with an unbearable crick in my neck!

In zoology, torcicollo is also the name given to the wryneck, a kind of bird with the incredible ability to turn its head almost 180 degrees.

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